Tuesday, May 20, 2014


“We’d like to do a number that was written by one of the finest writers and blues singers I know, and that’s none other than Big Bill Broonzy. We want to do his ‘Key to the Highway, booked out, and billed, and I’ve got to go.’” So speaketh Brownie McGhee, introducing a “blues classic” to the white kids assembled at Newport on a July day in 1963. 

Here’s Brownie and Sonny’s “R&B” version from a decade earlier. . . .

Brownie McGhee & His Jook Block Busters
Key To The Highway • 1952

Brownie McGhee & His Jook Block Busters: Brownie McGhee, vocal/guitar; Sonny Terry, harmonica; Bob Gaddy, piano; Bob Harris, bass; George Wood, drums. New York, 1952.

Brownie McGhee photo: Local Contrast

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